Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest American skier named a World Cup champion last year, and now holds the hopes of the country going into the Sochi Olympics with standout Lindsey Vonn sidelined with injury.

Who Is Mikaela Shiffrin?

Last week, after capturing her second World Cup slalom victory, Shiffrin learned that Vonn wouldn’t be competing at Sochi – and that she’d now become the skier in the spotlight. At 18, Shriffin is somewhat of a prodigy in the ski world, and her rise to success along with the help of her family proves to be a great narrative.

Both of Shiffrin’s parents – Jeff and Eileen – have long been involved in skiing, as is her brother Taylor, reported The New York Times. With her mom traveling with her to Italy when she was just 14, Shriffin won an international race for 13 and 14-year-olds – the win getting her on the radar of ski enthusiasts. Now, at just 18, she’s expected to win gold in the slalom and maybe even the giant slalom at the Sochi Olympics next month.

“I know that in the United States, the Olympics are the only time millions and millions of people watch ski racing, so it means a lot to the sport and the country,” Shiffrin told The Times. “So I understand the significance, but at the same time, it’s not the end of the world."

“I will want to win. But the result of the race will not motivate me," she added. "I can honestly say that I am motivated by improvement, not results. That’s a core principle.”

Shiffrin Compared To Lindsey Vonn

While Shiffrin is honored to receive comparisons to Vonn, she’s uncomfortable with the idea that she’s the second coming of the star athlete, who made her Olympic debut at 17 in 2002.

“[Vonn has] been one of my greatest idols for really long time, and it’s even cooler that she’s one of my teammates," Shrffrin told NBC. "I appreciate who she is and what she’s done for the sport. But she’s not done—she’s not even really close to done.”

Shriffrin’s coach, Roland Pfeifer, is not quite as humble, stating that his pupil is truly a cut above. “Mikaela is a once-in-a-lifetime talent,” he told the Times. “One day, she could beat everyone at everything.”

– Chelsea Regan

Get Uinterview's FREE iPhone App For Daily News Updates here.

Get the FREE Uinterview iPad app here and watch our videos anywhere.

For More Sochi 2014 News:

Lindsey Vonn Pulls Out Of Sochi Olympics Due To Knee Injury

Greg Louganis Opposes A Sochi Olympics Boycott, Encourages Acts Of Protest

Lolo Jones Gains 20 Pounds For Bobsled Career, Eats 9,000 Calories A Day

Brian Boitano Comes Out As Gay Leading Up To Sochi Olympics

U.S. Olympics Delegation In Russia To Include Openly Gay Athletes

Lindsey Vonn To Delay Return To Competitive Skiing

Leave a comment

Read more about: